United States District Court, D. Maryland
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
above-captioned civil rights action alleging the loss of
property occurring at the Eastern Correctional Institution
(“ECI”) was filed by Maryland state prisoner
Tracey Hawes. In his unverified complaint, Hawes seeks
compensatory damages of $10, 000.00 and punitive damages of
$750, 000.00. Hawes names Defendant ECI Warden Ricky Foxwell,
together with four officers, Defendants Blake, Clayton, Arndt
and Murphy, for failing to secure his personal property after
searching his cell.
does not contest the propriety of the cell search, nor does
he complain about disciplinary sanctions imposed as a result
of the contraband uncovered during the search. Instead, his
claims focus on the loss of personal items caused by
Defendants' failure to secure his property. ECF No.
have filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion
for summary judgment (ECF No. 11), and Hawes has filed an
opposition (ECF No. 13), as supplemented (ECF No.
The motion may be decided without a hearing. See
Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For reasons set forth herein,
Hawes' property claim will be dismissed.
Plaintiff's Statement of Facts
claims that on May 4, 2016, he was placed in a disciplinary
segregation cell on staff alert status. ECF No. 1, p. 5. On
May 13, 2016, the staff alert was removed and he was placed
in a cell and provided a bed, mattress, and allowable
on staff alert status, prison personnel informed him that his
personal property taken from his cell had been misplaced. He
places the blame for the loss on Defendants Blake, Clayton,
Arndt, and Murphy who, he claims, searched his cell and
failed to inventory fully and store properly his personal
property. Id., p. 7. Among the lost items were
various legal documents that Hawes maintains cannot be
replaced, including his trial transcript, his
“homicide” file, and legal briefs. ECF No. 1-1,
p. 4. Hawes states generally that the loss of these materials
limits his access to the courts. Id.
filed an administrative remedy procedure (ARP) grievance
regarding the misplaced property. Id., p. 6. The ARP
was found to be meritorious, and Hawes was offered
compensation of $497.91, which he refused. Id., p.
2. He appealed the award to the Inmate Grievance Office
(“IGO”), which referred it to the Office of
Administrative Hearings (“OAH”) for adjudication.
Id., p. 6. After an evidentiary hearing, an
administrative law judge found in Hawes' favor and
awarded him $684.58 as compensation for the lost property.
Id., p. 16. The Secretary of the Department of
Public Safety and Correctional Services (“DPSCS”)
affirmed the award on July 19, 2017. Id., p. 18.
Defendants' Statement of Facts
4, 2016, Defendants Arndt, Blake, and Clayton conducted a
search of Hawes' cell, located on Housing Unit
During the search, they found Hawes wearing a prohibited cell
phone watch. A charging cable also was discovered. ECF No.
11-2, pp. 4-5 (Notice of Inmate Rule Violation); ECF No.
11-3, ¶ 4 (Blake Decl.); ECF No. 11-4, ¶ 4 (Clayton
Decl.); ECF No. 11-5, ¶ 4 (Arndt Decl.). The three
officers escorted Hawes to the dayroom to be strip-searched.
ECF No. 11-2, p. 4. While in the dayroom, Hawes threatened
staff and the prisoner who had informed staff about the cell
phone watch. Id. He received a notice of inmate rule
violation for possessing the contraband and for threatening
staff and other inmates, and was taken to Housing Unit #4.
Id. Hawes was placed on administrative segregation
pending adjustment on a level one staff alert due to his
behavior, threats, and violation of inmate
rules.ECF No. 11-2, pp. 5-6, 11.
13, 2016, Hawes' status was adjusted to level three and
he received additional amenities, including all allowable
property ordinarily given to segregation prisoners.
Id., p.15, 22. On May 16, 2016, Hawes' staff
alert status was removed. Id., p.16. Hawes later
pleaded guilty to three rule violations and received ninety
days in disciplinary segregation. ECF No. 11-2, pp. 9-11.
their Declarations, Defendants Blake, Clayton, Arndt and
Murphy aver they had no involvement with Hawes' personal
property once the search was concluded, and were not involved
with the inventory and storage of the property. Warden
Foxwell likewise avers no involvement in the property
inventory and storage. All Defendants aver that they made no
determination as to Hawes' housing status or assignments.